Sunday, February 21, 2016


We get an F on photography this year. Dinner was delicious, but we were so into the moment that we didn't even realize we had not taken one. single. photo. Until after three courses in. Oops. Here is the menu, though. 

The appetizer was the little cone things that I burned my fingers on, filled with marinated sushi tuna, seaweed salad, pickled ginger, and a sriracha mayo.  No picture, but tasty.

The second thing we ate was a single mussel on a spoon with a small amount of sauce that had a whole bunch of stuff in it, pickles, capers, shallots, hard-boiled eggs, other stuff.  One bite and you're done.

The third item, blini, are little quarter size potato pancakes that are smooth and delicate with reduced eggplant and roasted peppers to accompany. These were delightful. No picture.

It was at this point that we realized we hadn't taken any pictures. So Russ got out the phone and took a picture of this one, half assembled.  It had basil oil, tomato coulis, a crouton, cherry tomatoes, and is missing the tomato sorbet and the garlic tuille that tops the whole thing off. But you can sort of get the idea.

For the main course the only picture we got was of me cutting up the sea bass. I look so focused here. Not angry. Focused.

This was served with crispy skin, that I ate and liked, on top of a spinach ball the size of a bouncy ball, parsnip and cream puree, and a sauce that sounded like it should have been weird, but was really good. It was mussel stock reduced with a vanilla bean and saffron and then butter and cream added back into it. I think it was the vanilla-mussel combination that I was nervous about.

We forgot to take a picture of the cheese course. But it was a 2" round of brioche with a 1" hole cut out of it, and a quail egg cooked in the middle, salad with a Dijon vinaigrette, and wedges of manchego. Manchego *might* be my favorite cheese. At any rate it is the the cheese that sold me on sheeps milk and started my several year long journey to acquire sheep so that I can have my very own sheeps milk cheese. So much so that I kept cooking lamb and trying to find ways to make us like it so that I could justify owning an animal for cheese that I will get little to no milk out of for only 4 months of the year. But that's another story.

We finally got our act together by dessert, and took more pictures of that than the entire meal. I'm only putting two of them on here though. This shows the souffles that have been baked on a cinnamon cookie, straight out of the oven, along side the cinnamon ice cream that had been cut into discs waiting to be plated.

The tricky thing with this is that the chocolate sauce under the ice cream is warm. The souffle on top of the ice cream is hot. So you have about 5 second to get this to the table before the ice cream in the middle is melting. It still tastes fantastic though. So here is a picture, but it looks lopsided because the ice cream has already started to melt, and we were in a hurry to get this to the table. And eat it. And lick the plate.

By the end, I could not have eaten another thing. In fact, I think I'm still full. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Day Before

So, I cooked a lot today. I made mussel stock, and mussels. Reduced tomatoes and pureed them with other ingredients to make a tomato sorbet. Blanched basil to infuse it in olive oil so it would be a vibrant green color. Made these little garlic cracker thingies.

Yet the only photo I took was of the "cornets" that the tuna tartare will go in. I've made these before, they're like little sushi ice cream cones. So tasty. I forgot two things, though. The first thing, was how much batter to use. I did three batches. The first was too thick, the second too thin, the third just right. We will eat all of them. The second thing I forgot, unfortunately, was that in order to make them you have to burn off the first layer of skin on your thumbs and pointer fingers. So that by the time I got to the third and perfect thickness batch I could no longer roll them up without shouting, so that the kids were all running into the kitchen asking what was wrong with me. So here are the pictures. My fingers have finally recovered, you'll be happy to know.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Boonies

Well, we moved. We seemingly live in the middle of nowhere (although we are only 20 minutes away from a decent city, and I have an enormous grocery 10 minutes from my house). Yet, we have no internet. I do have a smartphone, finally, so we aren't totally off the grid. But we don't have much data, so I won't be blogging much.

However, Russ still has a birthday in the boonies and so I'm going to try to upload some pictures without totally blowing our phone plan.

This year, there are 4 new courses. However, one of them I haven't made since the very first ever birthday dinner when it was just the two of us in my apartment and I didn't know how to cook yet, really. So I'm interested to see if it turns out better now that I have a little more experience in the kitchen.

So far, I've put a bunch of stuff in the freezer. Brioche, chocolate souffles that will be little molten cakes (hopefully), cinnamon ice cream.

Yes, that's white sugar in my ice cream. And 10 egg yolks. We throw caution to the wind for the birthday dinner. 

These cinnamon cookies were delicious. I especially love how you cook them for a few minutes, and then cut them out, so that you are forced to eat all the little scraps on the pan.

There were a few other make ahead things, eggplant "caviar", chocolate sauce, stock. But tomorrow the cooking will ramp up. Now that dessert is made. First things first.